How not to get raped by a cop in Oklahoma

[Trigger warning for rape]

Don’t do anything to get yourself pulled over.

No, seriously, that’s it.

The state of Oklahoma has become a great destination for being sexually assaulted by a law enforcement officer in the past few months. In August, an Oklahoma City police officer was charged with raping or sexually abusing six women. Some of the women were stopped while out walking; in one case, the victims says he broke into her home, kicked out her boyfriend, and forced her to perform sexual acts. He’s been charged with first-degree rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, indecent exposure, first-degree burglary, and stalking.

This month, an Oklahoma state trooper was arrested for raping a woman during a traffic stop. He reportedly pulled her over, ordered her into his car, drove her to a secluded spot to rape her, then drove her back to her car. Two other potential victims and three other questionable traffic stops have been revealed by investigation. Complaints against him include second-degree rape, rape by instrumentation, kidnapping, and sexual battery.

Also this month, a Tulsa County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested for sexually assaulting at least five women. Some of the assaults happened during traffic stops, others when he responded to a call at the women’s home. At least one of the assaults took place in the deputy’s patrol car. He’s being held on complaints of sexual assault and battery and indecent exposure.

In the wake of these incidents, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. George Brown has spoken with the news media, offering information and helpful tips about interacting with law enforcement. He advises viewers that troopers will always be in uniform and in marked cars, and that women are free to keep their door locked and just crack their window when talking with a trooper. (Video at the link; Helpful Tips from George start at 2:28.)

ANCHOR. Now, if you’re ever worried about interacting with law enforcement, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Captain George Brown with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says when it comes to troopers, they will always be in uniform and in marked cars. If you’re pulled over, he says it’s okay to keep your door locked and crack your window to talk to the trooper or officer. Captain Brown also says it’s rare that a trooper would ask a woman to come back to his patrol car.

And the captain says anything that happens inside a trooper’s car is videotaped, and he says that supervisors do review those tapes. He says the best tip he can give is to follow the law in the first place so you don’t get pulled over.

Emphasis mine.

So there’s your anti-rape-by-cop-in-Oklahoma tip: Don’t speed. Or drive without a seatbelt. Or drive with a taillight you don’t know is out. Or get targeted by a state trooper who is pulling you over for no other reason than to rape you.

Only you can prevent state trooper rape.

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14 comments for “How not to get raped by a cop in Oklahoma

  1. aimsly
    September 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    This story leaves me oddly ambivalent. On the one hand, the captain’s comments are shocking and horrifying in their brazenness and cruelty. On the other hand, threats of sexual violence are really deeply engrained into our police and prison system. “Cooperate or we’ll lock you in a cage and have you raped over and over” is a pretty common police go-to threat, so much as that it’s practically normal in our society. As such, it almost seems like this is natural progression of existing views.

    But still… what the actual fuck?

  2. September 26, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    It goes without saying that Brown’s advice is useless for all women, but it’s even worse for women of color. Not only do they face the threat of being sexually assaulted by a police officer, but they also face the threat of being hurt if they are in any way seen as non-compliant. And frankly, cops don’t seem to give a shit about why someone might appear to be non-compliant – what matters is that they have a chance to get to use their power over others. White women probably have a much easier time just locking the door and cracking the window open slightly – even though the advice is useless for every woman.

    For WOC, especially black WOC, their defensiveness is taken as a threat because white cops see them as non-human. Do I even need to mention anything about trans WOC and how they are treated compared to cis WOC, who already face brutal racism and misogyny/misogynoir? There are countless poor trans women of color who are raped by cops, and in many cases, the victims are threatened with a false charge of assault if they defend themselves from the rapist cops.

    Oh, and it’s also disablist. I have PTSD and when a cop confronts me I get an immediate, obvious anxiety attack. Cops, being the merciless people they are, might see my anxiety attack (should I ever be in this situation) as a suspicious sign of me wanting to hide something from them, especially if I also try to keep a distance by following Brown’s advice. And that’s only one example of the disablism inherent in this worthless advice.

    Being a disabled trans WOC myself, I have no reason to trust anything Brown says. I have no faith or trust in cops.

    • September 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Speaking of racism, the first news story says that all of the victims were black WOC…so yeah.

      • September 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm

        I saw Wendall Pierce tell a story recently that is kind of illuminating, on the topic of people of color being pulled over.


      • September 29, 2014 at 3:40 pm

        Just to be clear, in the video Wendall attributes the actions of the officer as “poor training” which I think is very very very generous on behalf of Mr. Pierce. I think that it’s pretty easy to see that the cop was racist, and viewed Wendall as a potential threat. I thought of this video because of the advice to “keep your window cracked”

        Unfortunately, I am not sure that advice is even remotely doable for a person of color who is encountering a racist cop.

  3. September 27, 2014 at 7:07 am

    WTF?! I can’t believe how regular it is from the law enforcement!

  4. September 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    This is horrifying. I wonder what the police department is doing to stop this from happening? Other than just telling women what we all need to do. :(

  5. AMM
    September 27, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    Not just Oklahoma (or Ohio.)

    I’ve heard of several incidents here in New York State of state troopers pulling a car driven by a woman over and then raping her. And the ones we hear about are just the ones where they (a) believed the woman and (b) nailed the guy.

    There are also the reports of cops raping women (who weren’t driving) in NYC, but they generally don’t get arrested or anything because other cops will lie or fiddle with reports or evidence, and the DAs generally don’t try very hard, anyway. Almost all the arrests of NYC cops (drug dealing, robbery, attempted murder, etc.) are done by departments outside of NYC or by the feds.

    I’m not sure how “don’t get pulled over” helps. Many of the incidents don’t involve cars. And you don’t have to do anything to get pulled over. DWB is, of course, an institution, but they can always find an excuse to pull someone over.

  6. pheenobarbidoll
    September 27, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    A cop here was busted for sexually assaulting 3 women , just out of his dashcam sight. Another got caught having an inappropriate texting thing with an underage girl. Another was busted in another town for assault. They were all fired but the police chief can’t understand why no one trusts or respects our department anymore.

  7. Vince
    September 29, 2014 at 7:45 am

    Good Morning. Can you please correct your post. The information is not correct, in regards to Ohio being mentioned?

    • September 29, 2014 at 9:49 am

      Sorry! I don’t know how I missed that. It’s been corrected.

  8. AlexanderRM
    October 1, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    The story itself is pretty horrifying but the specific line you focused on doesn’t sound that awful to me.
    I think part of the reason why it doesn’t sound that awful is because I’m so used to reading about rape culture that based on the headline, I was *expecting* it to be people talking about specific victims “if she didn’t want to be raped, she shouldn’t have been speeding” or doing less to go after the officers because their victims had been traffic violators. So I went into the article going “OH GODS WHAT” and the article itself sounded totally fine in comparison. Of course, in a perfect world it would be pretty strange advice, but in comparison to all the other rape culture out there it’s pretty minor.

    It seems like the person was giving some relatively reasonable advice and threw in that in the middle of the list (since not speeding is a good thing to do anyway); it’s not like it was his central and sole piece of advice.

    Of course, better advice if he wanted to *prevent* state troopers from raping people, rather than just shifting the rape to people who didn’t follow the advice, would be to tell people to report both rape and suspicious behavior (like the things he said to watch out for) to… ideally some law enforcement institution other than the one that officer worked for, and as citizens to put pressure on the government to ensure that such reports are followed up on. The real problem here is that all of these officers were somehow able to rape several women before finally getting caught.

    • EG
      October 1, 2014 at 8:31 pm

      It’s an awful line, because it assumes that a cop intent on rape won’t pull you over for any goddamn reason he pulls out of his ass. It assumes that you actually were doing something worthy of his notice. And that is nonsense.

    • October 2, 2014 at 12:57 am

      It seems like the person was giving some relatively reasonable advice and threw in that in the middle of the list (since not speeding is a good thing to do anyway); it’s not like it was his central and sole piece of advice.

      Regardless of whether that’s the case, it deserves to be singled out for its shittiness. (to put it bluntly)

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